Schleswig-Holstein recently granted Hamburg permission to continue to deposit dredged material near Buoy E3 in the North Sea.
The new permission substantially increases the scope for action to continuously keep the water level deep in the Port of Hamburg.
“For the around 10,000 seagoing vessels annually calling at the Port of Hamburg, reliable water depths throughout the year are essential for handling shipping traffic in the port and on the Elbe properly,” said Ingo Egloff, CEO of Port of Hamburg Marketing.
The authorization now in force gives the HPA the opportunity of acting according to plan, even during the summer months that produce so much sediment. Fresh deposits can in future be removed from the port all the year round – from the port entrance as far as the berths. Strict annual ceilings on volumes of sediment are abolished.
As compensation, Hamburg will pay a volume-related contribution towards the National Park Foundation for the protection of the tidelands or Wattenmeer. Some of the money will go towards nature conservation projects and boosting the sustainability of prawn fishing. Hamburg also will also step up its effort to rid the Elbe of noxious substances.
The agreement was preceded by several months of dialogue with the region, conducted by the Hamburg Port Authority and the German Waterways Administration with over 40 interest groups along the Lower Elbe.
More than 30 different options for releasing sediment on land and in local waters were considered in this forum, and a unanimously agreed report was lodged. As the result of this discussion, Buoy E3 in the silt dumping area of the North Sea emerged as the most ecologically compatible and also most generally acceptable option for releasing sediment from Hamburg.